St. Louis City edge Loons, expand Western Conference lead

Njabulo Blom scored the go-ahead goal in the 73rd minute as expansion St. Louis City took another big step toward a Western Conference regular-season championship with a 2-1 victory over Minnesota United on Saturday night in soggy Saint Paul, Minn.

Joao Klauss also scored and Roman Burki made four saves for St. Louis City (16-10-5, 53 points), who extended their Western Conference lead to eight points.

Teemu Pukki scored on a penalty kick for Minnesota United (9-11-10, 37 points), who lost their third straight match and fell to 3-4-8 at home this season. Dayne St. Clair finished with four saves for the Loons.

Blom then gave St. Louis a 2-1 lead with his first goal of the season, a right-footed blast from above the middle of the box that went sailing into the top right corner of the net.

Minnesota United, playing without star midfielder Emanuel Reynoso (thigh), took a 1-0 lead in the 48th minute on Pukki's fourth goal in the past five matches.

The score was set up when Burki picked up a yellow card for grabbing Hassani Dotson around the waist and bringing him down on the edge of the 6-yard box during a goalmouth scramble. Pukki then drilled a right-footed penalty shot into the left corner of the net for his fifth goal of the season.

Klauss, who entered the match as a substitute in the 58th minute, tied it six minutes later when he headed in a cross from Jake Newinski into the left side of the net for his eighth goal of the season and third in the past four matches.

Both goalies came up with saves on point-blank attempts during a scoreless first half, which was played in a driving rain. Burki stopped Sang Bin Jeong's right-footed try from the left side of the box in the fourth minute, and St. Clair saved Celio Pompeu's right-footed try in the middle of the box in the 24th minute.

--Field Level Media